So Joakim called a drunk fan a f*ggot. He was fined 50k for it. I think the fact that the NBA was perpetually running ads during the game to not call people 'gay' probably contributed to the hefty fine.
I can't say I'm entrenched in the gay community enough to know how this type of thing affects the community. Does it breed a negative attitude towards gays? I grew up in an era where the term 'gay' was just a universal word for something that sucks. I probably used the word 10,000 times before having any concept of what it meant (granted, I never used the term f*ggot with any regularity and certainly not after knowing what it meant).
After understanding what it meant, it took me a long while to try and remove it from my vocabulary. It was something that was just built in.
All the while saying it, I've never really cared much one way or the other about someone else's sexuality. It's simply not something I've thought of much in my life. I've never used the term 'gay' in a way where I meant to offend an actual gay person.
I would suspect, especially given Noah's liberal lifestyle, that Joakim Noah also isn't using the word because he cares a wit about someone else's sexuality, but that's the problem with the whole situation.
People have a negative view of the term 'gay', they view it as an insult even if it's almost a separate meaning from the term actually defining homosexuality. This is a largely issue because gay shouldn't be a negative term.
Unlike virtually any other negative term you can imagine to describe someone, there is a group of people who want it to be a positive term. Granted, I doubt the gay community is trying to turn f*ggot into a positive term.
I do think there's some disconnect though. If someone called you some racial slur that doesn't apply to you, you'd look at them like they were from mars rather than be offended. Yet with a term like gay, it's not exactly like that. Inherently, people still view being gay as a negative in that way.
I guess the difference being that straight men, take a certain pride in their straightness so to speak. I don't really pretend to have answers for these things, to know how or why someone else uses the term or whether or not they're offended by it.
I do know that it'd be best if we could do away with using it as a negative, and I applaud the NBA for trying to break through in this area, especially when sports have been so resistant to change